Conservation Partners connecting working lands conservation from the Gulf of Mexico to the High Plains with the vision of a sustainable landscape of natural resources resilient to the threats and stressors associated with our changing world.

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Conservation Coordinator 

Sep 25 TWS Symposium: Landscape Conservation: Making Conservation Real for People

Date: 09/15/17

"Planning is easy, people are hard, but all of us are much better than any one of us!"

The theme driving this symposium at The Wildlife Society, to be held in Albuquerque, NM September 25th, is how to make the linkage between large-scale conservation systems thinking and the people on the ground who can make things happen at a local level.  Those people are, of course, mainly private landowners and the conservation practitioners who work with them.  This session will present a series of projects at various scales that are successfully making these connections using a variety of tools, datasets, and approaches.  It will end with a panel discussion by engaged private landowners who represent a range of perspectives.  


The presentations are designed to focus on a series of questions for further consideration and discussion, such as:


  1. How can large-scale regional efforts that encompass many states better understand what motivates conservation, especially in terms of cultural resources and ecosystem services? (focal area: Southeastern states, presenter: Bill Uihlein, USFWS)
  2. Should a strategic conservation framework that uses big data and multiple models be used to make long-term strategy decisions or is it better to turn over the framework to conservation partners so they can use it to guide their own decisions? (focal area: Ozark Highlands, presenter: Thomas Bonnot, Northeast Climate Science Center)
  3. When undertaking landscape conservation, what is the best way to tailor outreach to the communities we are trying to reach, and what is the best way to find out what the community needs and wants? (focal area: Coastal resilience to SLR, presenter: Megan Cook, USFWS)
  4. How can an understanding of farmers’ “land ethic” and valuation of land management and conservation practices be leveraged to encourage conservation even among those who value it least? (focal area: Illinois, presenter: Craig Miller, Illinois Natural History Survey)
  5. What is the best way to understand and deal with multiple perspectives among  farmers, ranchers, and other conservation stakeholders? (focal area: Plains & Prairie Potholes, presenter: Lily Sweikert, South Dakota State Univ.)
  6. How can an understanding of differences between different kinds of landowners help create better conservation programs that more effectively meet their needs? (focal area: Iowa, presenter: Larry Gigliotti, South Dakota State Univ.)
  7. What are the pros and cons of using intensive focus groups and interviews versus large-scale datasets about landowners (e.g. Esri tapestry) to understand our conservation stakeholders? (focal area: Playa Lakes and Oaks & Prairies Joint Venture regions, presenter: Jon Hayes, Great Plains LCC)
  8. Given the huge “convening power” of the Monarch butterfly to create an “all hands on deck” approach to urban conservation, a critical question is how much can we generalize from this experience to other species and places? (focal area: Midwest cities, presenter: Alexis Winter, Keller Science Action Center/The Field Museum)
  9. What is an effective way to bridge the gap between conservation practitioners who work directly with landowners and those who do large-scale conservation planning, so that landscape scale data and tools are actually put to use to benefit people and wildlife? (focal area: Northeast U.S., presenter: Steve Fuller, North Atlantic LCC)


These presentations will be capped with what we hope will be a lively and enlightening discussion by a panel of private landowners convened by Steve Jester, the Executive Director of Partners for Conservation (PFC), a grassroots movement of private landowners collaborating on conservation projects to sustain working landscapes.  The panelists include the following board members of PFC who are landowners representing farm, ranching, and forest perspectives:


Bill Sproul, Kansas farmer

Jim Stone, Montana rancher

Reese Thompson, Georgia forest landowner 


Partners for Conservation will also be providing a landowner perspective on Farm Bill programs and conservation delivery at a symposium at the same meeting on September 27th.